The picture is small, a single dimension. Black and white.
Two people stare out at me, stare past fifty years of time into my world now. They are trapped there, behind the glossy finish of the photo. I know who they are, but at that time, they wouldnít know me, not yet anyway. They will as their lives unfold from that captured moment.
These two people are women, sisters. The year, probably 1941 or 42. One woman is my aunt. The other, smaller one in a side tilt hat and lace up shoes, with a hint of a smile on a small boned face, is my mother. Their arms are locked around each other, standing in front of a set of railway tracks outside of their home in Holland. Years and years ago.
Both women have passed on now. My mother at an early age, at least early for this time. She was 50, and died of breast cancer. My aunt, in years to follow.
At the time of the photo, neither one of them were Believers. Neither one understood the meaning of Eternal Life through a Saviour, had never heard of Him outside of possibly a mass or two that they may have caught on a special occasion. They werenít heathen, to coin an old term. My grandmother was excommunicated from the Catholic Church back then for allowing my grandfather to divorce her. So religion wasnít a big part of their lives.
I say all this to show how God works, through life events, through circumstances, but mostly through people.
When my mother lay in her hospital bed after her second breast surgery, a woman came to visit her. She came from nowhere. And lead my mother from a death sentence to a life with no death. This womanís name is Rita Bidgood, and she was obeying Godís voice to go in and speak to a woman sheíd never met, to my mother in her hospital bed, and lead her to the Lord. And thatís exactly what she did. My mother would have never entered a church to hear about Him, so God went to her. She died six months later, or should I say, because of this woman, she entered forever life.
Though Iíve long since lost touch with her, I will always be grateful to that womanís obedient heart. It must have taken courage for her to walk up to a strangerís bed and begin to speak.
Thatís evangelism. Speaking to people as God leads, to introduce them to the gift of Forever Life, to the Kingdom. And of course to the blessings of a relationship with Jesus right here on earth.
Photograpy captured my mother in a kind of time, freezing her smile, her hat and lace up shoes through one click of a camera button. Speaking Godís Word at the right time to her, freed her soul from this kind of black and white existence, so she could spend dynamic forever life in the Kingdom. I see why God has called us to go out into the world and preach the gospel. Itís for people like my mother, who might not otherwise walk into a church building and hear a sermon.
Lord, give me the guts to step out and speak where you need me to, so maybe someone elses family picture can have the same hopeful ending.
And by the way, thank you Rita Bidgood, wherever you are!
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